Builders Need Builders

Apr 18, 2018

Welders. Electricians. Machinists. Framers. Skilled tradesmen and women are at their most lacking ever, according to the Manpower Group. But just wait a few years. The skills gap is likely to become more pronounced.

 

Because these jobs are more physically demanding than the typical job, it comes as no surprise that the skilled trades have far fewer 65-and-older workers than the total labor force (1.9 percent to 4.8 percent). So unlike other occupations, many skilled trades workers can’t hold off on retirement because they need the money or simply enjoy working.

 

According to a recent Forbes article, the heavy proportion of older skilled-trade workers puts into focus more than just the pending retirement for baby boomers. It also illustrations how American high schools have largely shifted their focus to preparing students for four-year colleges rather than vocational school. And while it may not be sexy or even a good fit for some students to become a welder or computer controlled machine operator, pursuing a college degree doesn’t fit every student’s skill set either. It’s just that you probably can’t convince their baby boomer parents of that as they fork over enormous amounts of tuition money or see their kids go into student loan debt for decades of their lives.

 

The notion of a work-force education somehow got left in the proverbial construction dust. What many a young person may not know, however, is that a two-year institution (a vocational or trade school) costs less, and the average work-force student can come out of that program with prospects of immediate employment.

 

Nearly 60 percent of all skilled-trade workers are employed in manufacturing. Another 17 percent work in construction – the two sectors that lost the most jobs during the recession, when the skilled trades suffered most, declining 13% in employment from 2007-2009. Skilled-trade professions have rebounded since the recession and in some states, employment in the skilled trades is growing with demand is relatively high. The biggest issues seem to be replacing the many older workers in these fields who could soon retire, however.

 

A big part of the equation is what manufacturers and other employers are willing, or can afford, to pay. A telltale sign of a true skills gap is an increase in wages to make up for a shortage of labor. But researchers are finding that manufacturing wages have only gone up in a paltry few areas around the country. Hard for young people to choose to invest in training for jobs that pay fast-food wages.

 

For many of the skilled trades, however, the median wage is $20.25 an hour, with even the bottom 10 percent earning $13.14 an hour, according to reports. As older workers move out of these positions, companies will often replace them with younger (and cheaper) workers. But that’s only if they can find them.

 

There is hope, however. In a recent Medium blog post, tech writer Jenny Fielding writes about a day where a high-quality house will be constructed in only 6 weeks by unskilled workers in an affordable manner. Some new high-tech plants are popping up in the rust belt in an effort to help the economies of towns that suffered after the last housing crisis. “These factories, using robots to fill the void of skilled human labor, are able to develop and produce the majority of the home in a controlled and efficient environment,” she writes. “Then the individual chunks of the home (e.g., entire bathrooms including the drywall and tile) are transported to the construction site and assembled in no time. But this not your grandmother’s pre-fab… these new modular houses are about quality, rather than quantity — a mantra that resonates with millennials who cannot afford nor identify with the ‘McMansions’ of the past.” She adds that the future of the connected home is incorporating technology into the design and building phases so that smart technology lives in the walls.

 

 

Source: EMSI, Forbes,TBWS

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For all those experts who push buying the most run-down place in the best part of town as a surefire winning investment because the only way its value can go is up, it may be time to take a second look, according to by Spencer Rascoff and Stan Humphries’ book Zillow Talk: The New Rules of Real Estate.

The authors took a hard look at the cheapest 10% of homes in a given ZIP code, trying to understand what buyers were getting when they purchased a home priced well below a neighborhood’s median value. If the adage about “rising tides” were true, the bottom 10% of houses would need to perform better than the more expensive homes in their neighborhood. Instead, they found that only rarely does the bottom 10% outperform the top 90% of houses in a ZIP code. On average, these bottom-tier homes do neither better nor worse than the others.

Their findings indicated that there may be less demand for lower-priced homes in nicer neighborhoods simply because in fancier areas, upscale homes get the most attention. Buying a neighborhood’s worst home, then, is a neutral investment strategy.

 

Source: TBWS

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Existing-Home-Sales--3-21-2016

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Home Sales Surge

Jan 28, 2016

Home sales surge, per the National Association of Realtors 2015 home sales surged the highest levels since 2006.

Existing Home Sales1-22-2016

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Home Sales Rise

Jan 22, 2016

exsistinghomesales1222016

Posted: Friday, January 22, 2016 10:54 am | Updated: 5:15 pm, Fri Jan 22, 2016.

The National Association of Realtors said Friday that sales of existing homes climbed 14.7 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.46 million. Sales had previously plummeted as the industry adapted to new mortgage disclosure rules — a temporary downturn before delayed sales were finalized in December.  Read more

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2016 housing market predictions
Mortgage rates will rise, and rising rates will hit first-time home buyers the hardest, predicts CNBC’s Diana Olick
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Housing-Infographic-11-3-2015

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Monthly Housing data

Sep 2, 2015

housing-infographic-8-28-15

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Jan 8 2014, 1:18PM

Rising home prices are returning more and more homes to a positive equity position and RealtyTrac said today that about 31 percent of the homes currently in the process of foreclosure now appear to have some value above the balances of their mortgages  Biggest Quarterly Drop in Underwater Homes since Peak.

 

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